June 9, 2023

Insights & Thoughts from a Rising Junior attending NYU New York

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Bailey from Canada 🇨🇦

Campus Image of New York University (NYU)
Insights & Thoughts from a Rising Junior attending NYU New York

Hi, I’m Bailey! I was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and am currently a rising junior attending NYU New York.

Me (left) with a friend from NYU
Me (left) with a friend from NYU

Why I Chose to Study in the US

I've always been a somewhat stubborn person, and since I was little, I had my heart set on studying in the United States. There were a few reasons behind this decision. I would say that the economic aspect played a partial role. When I was younger, I heard from my mom that some of the world's best universities were located in the US, and as a kid looking for a challenge, I embraced this idea and have pursued it ever since.

More importantly, though, I wanted a change in my environment: after living the same routine in quiet suburbia, I’ve known for some time that I don't want to live my entire life tethered to the same spot. Choosing to study in New York alone seemed like a perfect opportunity to chase after as many new and unfamiliar environments as possible. It sounds cliché, but I believe there’s more value in learning through struggling and being forced to adapt to unfamiliar situations than being kept comfortable in one place. Even if I regret doing so, what matters to me is that I had the courage to pursue this path and see it through. That sense of accomplishment is something I take pride in.

The Application Process & Background Stats

Applying to NYU was a relatively quick process. I remember writing only one or two prompts on why I wanted to attend NYU and submitting the common app personal statement. I applied regular decision and wasn’t interviewed, and received my acceptance sometime in April. 

As for my academic background, I submitted a score of 1570 on the SAT. I also completed the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in highschool and submitted a final score of 44/45. Prior to joining IB, I received the scholastic award at my school from grade 8-10 as the student with the highest GPA for my grade level. Looking back, I wish I had focused more on my extracurriculars in high school. I did a short  internship with a security firm in 10th grade and a remote internship with a microfinance company in Cambodia during 11th grade. In response to the pandemic, I also created a virtual tutoring platform with my friends. If I had started earlier, though, I think I could have been even more involved in different activities and developed a better sense of what I want to do in the future. In the first three years of high school, I mainly played volleyball, basketball, and badminton. While they were fun, they were time-consuming, and didn’t help me craft a strong application when it came time to apply for university. 

Why I Chose to Study Economics and Computer Science

I’m currently doing a joint major in Economics on the theory track and Computer Science in NYU’s College of Arts and Sciences. Originally, I entered NYU with an intention to pursue a double major in Economics and Philosophy. I had never taken an Economics class before since they weren’t offered by my highschool, but I decided that it sounded like a major that might suit me: I enjoy the more qualitative methodology of the social sciences like anthropology and psychology, but I also didn’t want to box myself into a study that didn’t involve much Mathematics since I value a balanced foundation in qualitative and quantitative reasoning. At the end of the freshman year, I decided that I really enjoyed the introduction classes and wanted to continue, but felt a bit dissatisfied; economics deals primarily with the theory and abstract concepts, and until I had a higher grasp of math and statistics, I knew that I was unlikely to be able to apply my knowledge to do projects. That summer, I took an intro to computer programming course at NYU with Julie Lizardo for fun and absolutely loved it. The projects, in my opinion, were the most fun for me – I’m happy to spend hours working on a single coding problem since seeing a finished product (my code) at the end is incredibly gratifying for me. I decided to then switch to the joint major. If my schedule has room, I’d also like to pursue a minor in philosophy instead of a major now instead!

Academics at NYU

A few points about the economics major: at NYU, the economics major is divided into two tracks. Depending on your interests, you can either choose the policy track or the theory track. The theory track is much more math-intensive, and is typically taken by those intending to pursue graduate studies. If you plan on pursuing the theory track, make sure to more thoroughly plan your schedule ahead of time: less people take the theory rack, so core classes specific to the track are offered on a less frequent basis (there are none during the summer semester and some are strictly offered in spring/ some only offered in fall). On a more general basis, choosing majors at NYU is a very flexible process. You have until sophomore year to decide, and even afterwards, you can easily change your major by contacting the appropriate department personnel. If you plan on doing an internal transfer to NYU schools like Stern (the business school) or Tisch (performing arts), though, the process is much more selective and difficult given the number of students vying to get in. 

In my eyes, the quality of education at NYU has been great so far. I’ve been extremely fortunate in that I love both my Economics professors and CS ones, and I really enjoy going to their office hours to ask questions or hang around and talk. The classes also follow a similar structure, with variations. For example, all of my Economics classes so far have been solely homework and exam-based. For Analytical Statistics, Econometrics, Intermediate Microeconomics, each class has a homework set typically due every week and anywhere from 1-3 midterms, as well as a final. For CS, the intro courses + data structures, projects typically account for 40% of the grade, with a single midterm, the final, and homework sets accounting for the rest. Interestingly enough, I’ve never had to work in a group for any of my classes, so if you like working on your own, you’ll probably enjoy it here!

Thought on NYU’s Studying Abroad Opportunities

NYU is also known for its numerous study abroad locations, ranging anywhere from Athens, Greece to Ghana, Africa. Since coming here, I have heard nothing but praise from upperclassmen over the NYU study abroad experience, to the extent that some say it’s their favourite experience from attending NYU. One thing to seriously consider when it comes to studying abroad at NYU, however, is your major. Apart from NYU’s 3 global campuses, NYU’s study abroad sites have fewer classes. So even if you want to study abroad in Paris, make sure it's feasible. For example, I wanted to study abroad in London due to the internship program NYU has there, but realized that I had already taken the Economics courses offered there and following through would likely delay my graduation. Studying abroad at NYU can feel not so “STEM-friendly” sometimes, so make sure to plan ahead!

An Extra Point on NYU Academics 

If I had to name one thing I dislike about NYU New York, it’s the lack of research opportunities for Economic majors. There is no research program here like the one at NYU Abu Dhabi, where students are matched with professors who accept their applications. At NYU New York, students are left to look for their own opportunities: you’ll likely have to approach professors in the Economics Department on your own to reach out to and work with. I’ve also heard from other upperclassmen that the Economics professors at NYU tend to only want to work with their graduate students. At the very least, you’ll likely need to have taken Econometrics before professors accept working with you. Just a possible point to consider. 

Personal Life at NYU

The popular saying that “NYU doesn’t have a campus” is right in some ways and wrong in others. We definitely don’t have an enclosed campus space – I can walk 10 minutes from Washington Square Park and suddenly be in Soho. That said, most of the NYU buildings (including Stern, Tisch, CAS, Courant, and Steinhardt) and the library are clustered around Washington Square Park, so it can feel like we have our own space at times. I’d really advise anyone thinking of coming here to take some time to really think about whether or not having a traditional school campus is okay. It can be good or bad depending on what you like, and for me, I didn’t mind at all.

View of Washington Square Park
View of Washington Square Park

I also have mixed feelings about the student life at NYU. In my personal experience, you get used to being alone at the New York Campus, which I personally don’t mind. Juggling two majors can be busy, and given that everyone else is also busy, you have to put in an active effort to keep in touch with friends. It’s easy to lose touch if you don’t, just because everyone is hustling and following their own schedule. If anything, New York and the people in New York are busy. If you thrive off that energy, you’ll feel like you fit right in! Even if I don’t have that much time to hang out with them, I still love the friends I’ve made here and rarely feel lonely. The campus at New York is incredibly diverse, and my friends are of all majors and from all over the world. You definitely learn to be independent at NYU, especially as an international student.

Late night studying with friends
Late night studying with friends

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Bailey
from Canada 🇨🇦

Duration of Study

Sep 2021 — May 2025

Bachelor

CS and Economics

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New York University (NYU)

New York University (NYU)

New York City, US🇺🇸

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  1. User Image

    Lera

    1 year ago

    So inspiring! These ECs and stats are fantastic... You providied such an elaborate and useful explanation of academics at NYU. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    1. 🙂

      Adam

      1 year ago

      U made a beautiful point about group studies and personal studies. Many people tend to believe that the former is more effective than the latter. That's true but not entirely. Like me, either of the two is ok. That notwithstanding, congrats.

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